Issues pertaining to the legalization of marijuana have elicited

controversial and heated debates. This may have emanated from differing
opinions as to the substance’s apparent benefits and limitations.
Indeed, it is evident that quite little is known about the varied
aspects or properties of marijuana, whether medicinal or otherwise.
This, however, has not discouraged individuals in different camps from
putting across arguments and opinions in support of either the
legalization or banning of the use of the drug. In so doing, these camps
have deeply relied on public relations so as to underline the
authenticity and weight of their argument. This has mainly involved the
overemphasis of the positive aspects or the strengths of the action that
they are vouching for, as well as overemphasis of the negative aspects
of any contrary action.
First, proponents of the legalization of marijuana have pulled the
finance card in pushing for its legalization. They have underlined the
financial benefits that would come with the legalization. They note that
the legalization of drugs would result in annual savings of about $41.3
billion on the expenditure of governments in enforcing the prohibition.
Local and state governments would make about $25.7 billion savings,
while the remaining $15.6 billion would be in federal government savings
(Morgan 16).
On the same note, they have underlined the financial benefits to the
government in terms of income from the sale of these drugs. The
legalization of a large number of drugs would result in an increase in
the annual tax revenue by about $46.7 billion, assuming that the tax
rates would be similar to those of tobacco and alcohol (Caulkins et al
24). Proponents note that about $8.7 billion of the annual revenue would
have resulted from the legalization of marijuana, while the other drugs
would take up the remaining amount (Caulkins et al 25). Underlining the
financial benefits of the legalization of marijuana is aimed at creating
the impression that the action would be one of the ways of solving the
United States financial problems.
In addition, proponents have underlined the fact that the legalization
of marijuana would increase the employment opportunities. Unemployment
has been one of the most fundamental problems with which the United
States is grappling. Indeed, it also comes as one of hottest topics in
political debates, with everyone being required to state the strategies
that they would use to reduce it and increase the employment
opportunities (Morgan 33). Proponents of medicinal marijuana have
underlined the fact that the legalization of marijuana would result in
an increase in farms, stores, as well as manufacturing facilities for
the varied items that are associated with marijuana including
potency-testing kits and specialized agricultural equipments. This would
essentially result in infrastructural growth and reduction of
unemployment in the United States.
In addition, proponents have stated that failure to legalize marijuana
would amount to racial discrimination. It is noteworthy that black
people sell and use marijuana and other drugs at rates similar to those
of whites. However, it is surprising that the two groups have
significant disparity as far as their rates of arrests and incarceration
for the use and sale of the drug is concerned (Caulkins et al 56).
Research shows that thirteen black people are arrested and incarcerated
for every white person that is arrested. Indeed, 8 black people are
arrested in New York City for every one white person that is arrested
for a similar offense. This partial enforcement of the law is seen as
reinforcing the United States’ worst social pathologies and divisions
that have, on numerous occasions, resisted change. It creates the
impression that laws prohibiting the use of marijuana exist primarily to
give cops the capacity to hassle black people.
Moreover, scholars have noted the illogical nature of laws prohibiting
marijuana while legalizing the consumption of alcohol. This is
especially considering that marijuana is less addictive, harmful and
toxic to the body compared to alcohol (Caulkins et al 47). Indeed, there
exists voluminous evidence as to the fact that alcohol contributes
immensely to recklessness and violent behavior, something that cannot be
said of marijuana. Indeed, on no occasion has marijuana been blamed for
overdose deaths and long-term health problems and violent crimes
(Caulkins et al 49). In fact, the medicinal properties of marijuana have
been immensely recognized in the recent times. The comparison of its
effects with those of alcohol is a public relations tactic to push for
its legalization.
Nevertheless, opponents have examined the health implications of
marijuana in an effort to push for its criminalization. This is
especially with regards to the effects of smoked marijuana, which is
said to damage the immune system, lungs, the heart, as well as the brain
of the individual. In addition, marijuana is said to impair learning, as
well as interfere with the judgment, memory and perception of the smoker
(Morgan 46). On the same note, smoked marijuana is not different from
tobacco as it comes with cancer-causing compounds among other
components. Irrefutable evidence in the international scene has also
shown that marijuana may result in mental impairment, in which case
legalization would result in increased prevalence of psychotic
illnesses.
Works cited
Morgan, Kayla. Legalizing Marijuana. Edina, MN: ABDO Pub. Co, 2011.
Print.
Caulkins, Jonathan P, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman.
Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. , 2012. Print.
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